The House impeachment probe has reached a point where continuing to defend President Donald Trump requires a prodigious capacity for denial or self-delusion.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, Trump’s denialist in chief, summed up the situation on Tuesday when asked about Gordon Sondland’s revision to his testimony before the committees three weeks earlier. Originally, the hotel tycoon–turned–ambassador couldn’t remember much about a quid pro quo. But now that his memory had been refreshed by other witnesses’ depositions (which may have incited worries of a perjury prosecution), Sondland said this week that yes, come to think of it, the president did hinge the resumption of military aid to Ukraine on Ukraine’s willingness to investigate—and make a public statement about—the corruption of Joe Biden and his son.
Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, replied that he hadn’t read the testimony of any of the witnesses, a roster that includes not just Sondland, a major donor to Trump, but also some esteemed career diplomats. “I’ve written the whole process off,” Graham said. “I think this is a bunch of B.S.”
Just two weeks earlier, Graham said in an interview, “If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call [with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky], that would be very disturbing.”
Now Sondland has done precisely that—and suddenly, it’s not disturbing at all. Or, rather, it’s so disturbing that Graham has blocked it from his mind—pretended that it doesn’t exist. [Continue reading…]